Monday, May 14, 2007

Banned From Soliciting, Mr Cogito Promises To Continue Campaign For Conservatory In The Nation's Capital And American Classical Music On Public Radio

... "Yesterday was the second and final day of auditions held by Metro and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to find performers who will entertain riders at a handful of District subway stations starting in June. About 40 winners will be announced at the end of the month.

Live entertainment is a staple in subway systems in New York, Paris and elsewhere, but this will be a first for Metro. The agency is also organizing auditions with arts councils in Montgomery and Prince George's counties for performances at stations there.

Metro has not picked which District stations will have performers, but officials have promised riders that their paths won't be blocked by some overzealous dance troupe. Performances will be limited to station entrances and will occur once or twice a week during lunchtime and the evening rush. The arts commission will pay D.C.-based artists about $200 per show. They will not be allowed to solicit." ...

Lena H. Sun "Entertainers Audition to Make Metro a Moving Experience" Washington Post May 13, 2007

The late cellist, conductor, and humanitarian Mstislav Rostropovich dreamed of helping build a world-class Music Conservatory on the banks of the Potomac River, in the Nation's Capital of the United States of America.

Here, he offers a free music recital [1989] in the shadow of the Berlin Wall -- which, at one time, was thought to separate two world civilizations.

Photo credit: Reuters via the New York Times [?] via Wikipedia. With thanks.


The National Symphony Orchestra's Mstislav Rostropovich free tribute concert, this Saturday evening at 6 PM in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall, will contain an example of the American classical music -- Leonard Bernstein's "Slava! [A Political Overture]" banned on Sharon Rockefeller, Dan De Vany, and Jim Allison's new classical WETA-FM Lite, public radio, in the Nation's Capital.


Despite being a short, single-movement classical work, Igor Stravinsky's Elegie for solo viola (1944), is also banned on the new classical WETA-FM Lite, public radio, in the Nation's Capital.

"This short 5-minute work remains to be Stravinsky's only contribution to viola literature. It has been said that world renowned violist William Primrose once proposed commissioning a viola concerto from Stravinsky, but Stravinsky was not interested in the project, so he went to Bartok instead who did agree to the offer. The Elegie was commissioned by Germain Prevost, violist of the Pro Arte Quartet (now in residence at UW-Madison) to honor the memory of Alphonse Onnou (1893-1940), a founding member of the Pro-Arte Quartet. Prevost, who was an extremely sentimental man, not only commissioned Stravinsky for this work, but also his friend Darius Milhaud, who wrote three works for viola and piano in memory of Onnou as well. Undoubtedly in the war torn year of 1944, in which this work was composed, there were many victims worthy of this somber token of remembrance.

Two manuscripts preserved in the Library of Congress show how clearly and rationally Stravinsky went about constructing this work. The first version was written over two staves and gives the impression that it is intended for two instruments. The second version, however, consists of exactly the same notes as the solo version- the other version was undoubtedly written out by the composer as a visual aid for the complex polyphony, especially the middle section.

This work is written in a simple ABA form in which the first A section consists of a quiet funeral hymn with a simple accompaniment characteristic of his primitivist style. The B section is a two-part fugal section. Due to the numerous voice crossings and distance between the voices, the construction of each of the two lines in often obscured. As one listens to the pungent dissonances created by the two lines, one quickly perceives that Stravinsky's intention is to convey the intense and natural expression rather than the articulate artifices of his musical craft. At the climax of the fugue, the theme's inversion answers the theme itself immediately in the next bar in counterpoint. As a link to the final A section, there is one bar consisting of a series of chords: a minor sixth, a perfect fifth, a perfect fourth, a major third, and augmented second, all rising in pitch within a diminuendo- creating an atmospheric affect as if one is rising to the heavens. The entire work is played with mute- creating an eerie, mysterious color."

Note by Kenneth Martinson


Young French cellist Alexis Descharmes (b. 1977) has prepared and recorded a beautiful violoncello transcription of the Stravinsky Elegie for solo viola (1944).


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